Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Budget: An 'act' for blaming the British people and interfering in all their affairs in order to distract attention from the real causes and the true remedy of this nation’s financial predicament.

"People constantly speak of  'the government' doing this or that, as they might speak of God doing it. But the government is really nothing but a group of men, and usually they are very inferior men." H.L. Mencken
So passes yet another Budget day beginning with the Chancellor posing at the door of No11 with his Red Box, then proceeding to the House of Commons where he reads out a speech containing what amounts to a pack of lies, where upon the Opposition then get their attempt to also spout lies in rebuttal. During this entire process the remainder of the House of Commons behaves like a pack of kindergarten schoolchildren, requiring the obligatory admonishment from their headmaster. This is politics? For heavens sake, we could stick a load of monkeys in a cage and get the same result for far less cost.............. Oh, wait....................

I do not propose to comment on the Budget detail; there are far better qualified than I who can do that, however the Mail seems to have picked up a few salient points which are worth reading. Likewise Open Europe blogs on a little noticed fact in the Budget of a massive discrepancy for the UK’s net contribution to the EU, compared to the figures produced in the pre-budget report back in November. While I have to admit having missed the first 20 minutes of Osborne's speech however I do not recall any mention of that nugget, nor can I spot any mention on Hansard.

Why do we allow ourselves to be put through this charade? Why do we allow politicians the power to extract money from our pocket time and time again, then complain about the fact on each and every occasion? I am now going to take extracts of a speech given by Enoch Powell on 11th May 1968, at Chippenham, when he spoke against yet another Prices and Incomes Bill. Powell believed that Bill had been mislabelled and his suggested replacement title is just as applicable to Budget speeches by Chancellors of the Exchequer; namely that of the heading to this post.
"We live in an age of conspiracies. They are far more successful and well-managed conspiracies than the conspiracies of history. Perhaps the improvement in efficiency is one of the benefits which we owe to the technological revolution. At any rate, the age of the old-fashioned conspirator is no more. He no longer gathers with his fellows in tiny groups, admitted by password to huddle round a dark lantern in a dingy garret. Today the conspirators sit in the seats of the mighty, at the desks of Ministers and editors; they live in the blaze of continual publicity; their weapons are the organs of opinion themselves. The politics of the last few years have been little more than a series of conspiracies conducted by the politicians and the Press against the common sense of the public. They have for the most part been brilliantly, audaciously successful. Opposition, criticism, questioning have been beaten into the ground, not by force but by something much more efficacious: by tacit agreement on the part of those who speak and write to speak and write the same kind of nonsense, year in year out, until ordinary men and women no longer dare trust their own wits but give up the struggle and deliver themselves passively to the guidance and domination of their betters. The Higher Nonsense is a mightier instrument of mass  repression than machine-guns, grapeshot and cavalry charges ever were. The success has been so complete that we fail not only to be astonished at it, but even to perceive it........ 
..........Inflation with all its attendant evils, comes about for one reason and one reason only: the Government causes it. To say anything as plain as that is to arouse a chorus of imprecation. All the clever people start talking at once in a loud voice about ‘cost push’, ‘demand pull’, and ‘monopoly power’. But look who is doing the talking. If it is true that governments cause inflation and that the citizens are the innocent victims, who has the vested interest in denying it? Answer: governments themselves, and all those who thrive on an increase in the power and expenditure of governments. Governments, and their attendant host of commentators and propagandists, have executed what is perhaps the greatest confidence trick of all time, a confidence trick on a gigantic scale: they have caused inflation year after year, and at the same time persuaded everyone that somebody else was to blame. It is equivalent to stealing a man’s wallet and then getting him locked up for theft. The achievement is all the more remarkable because the facts are so blatant."
Enoch Powell provides an impressive, coherent and cogent argument for the introduction of Direct Democracy coupled with the element of 'Referism' (not, I hasten to add, he would have agreed). Have we not suffered enough from the actions of incompetent individuals who believe they know everything, but in fact know nothing? Has our country not been brought to its knees on more than one occasion by these incompetent individuals only for them to be saved by the efforts of the people they have misled? Has the time not come when we, the people, must inform these incompetent individuals:

Enough is enough. We will no longer waste time denouncing you, you are dismissed forthwith as yet another sad, bizarre chapter in our history and we vow never, ever, to allow your like to be reborn.

Update: Richard North, EU Referendum who appears to think the same as I do.


Trooper Thompson said...

That's a great quote. Enoch was probably the best economist in the Tory Party.

Shevva said...

The post modern dark ages. Well thats wgat I call them.

PeterCharles said...

The EU contributions detail wasn't in the budget WfW. It was in the OBR report.

The one thing that I have not seen or heard put by any pundit in all the Budget comment is the one thing that would really make a difference. Not one person asks why government simply can't do less. Government can't, of course. They are completely wedded to doing more and more, interfering in ever greater detail, accumulating greater and greater control. The only way such a thing will ever come about is if someone or something stronger pries their fingers from the levers of power. Yet as long as no one in a position of influence is prepared to even say it, nothing will ever change.

The company I worked for at one time was going through a bad patch economically. It was a large concern with over 20 production sites dotted around the country. As things got particularly serious we were given the order to cut staff and revenue expenditure by 10% across the board, no discussion, no debate, either cut or the plants would be shut down. There were screams and wails that it couldn't be done, but when we sat down and got to grips it was not only achievable we made considerable improvements to efficiency and quality, or at least our plant did. In fact such was our success we were granted over £20 million in development capital the following year, slightly less than all the other plants put together got. The moral, I suppose, is if the will is there, these things can be done, government could be shrunk without the world ending. But I won't hold my breath.

TomTom said...

to cut staff and revenue expenditure by 10% across the board,

Forgive me but having experienced a similar directive to cut by 20% T&E expenses worldwide, only to find the overspend was a Head Office problem of elaborate junkets but the "solution" involved the global operations cutting Travel Budgets (to Customers) for repair works even though the Customers were paying for these trips - simply that Expenditure Line Items cannot be netted against Income Line Items - people in Head Office were playing politics not taking responsibility.

I do not think reducing Defence by 10% (£4 billion) is equivalent to reducing Education by £9 billion - the effects are different.

Responsibility means we do not pay Housing Benefit willy nilly

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Trooper T: It is and he is a source of many more.

S: Agreed.

PC: Thanks re OBR. Yes, you're right re your second paragraph.

TT: Re last two paragrahs - agree.

EForster said...

Never mind a Tycoon Tax, we all pay a 50p tax rate, because that is the effective average cost of tax today in everything we buy as consumers.

Consumers' cash necessarily supports the entire hierarchy of commerce. There is not a commercial entity that can survive without ultimately servicing the needs of consumers, directly or indirectly. From whom else do you suppose businesses and employees make money? Every tax incurred in the supply chain shows up as a hidden tax in consumer prices.

For example, if a product retails for £20, and £10 of tax is incurred proportionately in the manufacturing, supply and distribution of the product, including VAT, business taxes, employee income taxes, national insurance and council taxes, then that amounts to a 50p in the pound purchase tax rate also equivalent to a 100% rate of VAT.

Consumers, by unwittingly paying all the taxes on production contained in the prices of goods and services, should now realise that no one else could reasonably claim to be paying any of those self same taxes.

'Income Taxpayers' are simply involuntary intermediaries in the collection of tax from consumers. 'Income Taxpayers' are not always reliable as third party tax collectors, as we know, but their use provides great scope for confusing the issue of who really pays tax and concealing the full crushing cost of Government from voters.

Net disposable income is always determined ultimately by the labour market, but the insidious nature of income taxes invites political interference such that particular groups of 'Income Taxpayers' can be chosen for immediate rewards or penalties. Such imbalances tend to be mitigated eventually by market forces, but politicians delight in short term advantage especially when voters cannot understand that these tactics are fundamentally useless. One might think that a century of Income Taxes would have redistributed as much wealth as could possibly be wanted by their proponents, but it has evidently not worked yet. That voters are still bamboozled by Income Taxes is one of the greatest scandals of our democracy.

All taxation could be replaced by an explicit single rate of VAT recognising that real pay is current net disposable income, but who would vote for a VAT rate of 100%? Even though food, being then fully VAT exempt in the supply chain, would be cheaper, incumbent politicians will never offer that reality.

Income Tax is the curse of the Western World, a political illusion to please the unthinking.

PeterCharles said...

TT, I should add that I was not specifically advocating across the board public expenditure cuts, I used that illustration simply to show that if the will is there things can be done and cuts/restructuring made without the world ending. And in that particular exercise there were no forced redundancies either, by the way, lest you think me completely heartless.

Don't forget that Osborne's final goal for this parliament is to return to 2008 levels of spending and, by his own words, something about sharing the fruits of growth, and then plans to increase it again, just as all governments have since WW2.

Government wastes huge amounts in almost everything it does, it has no sense of economy nor sense of responsibility. Has education improved for all the billions spent on 'improving' it? Not that I can see. Has filling the NHS with managers instead of nurses in order to monitor compliance with government directives been worth the billions spent on it? Not that I can see. Was the £9 billion, if I recall correctly, spent on Nimrod AWAC that never flew worth it, or even the millions spent on the Blue Streak missile in the 1950s? Not that I can see. I could go on about the job creation schemes that created jobs at £50,000 for each placement or even more, the job creation schemes that created jobs that lasted 18 months if the people were lucky, the vast sums that are effectively defrauded by government contractors, but I won't.

The link here is obvious, they simply do not know what they are doing, other than thrashing around desperately to be seen to do something, and they can get away with it because there are no serious consequences for failure.

Government has historically been a facilitator and a provider of last resort rather than a doer of things, after WW2 they decided they must be the provider of first and last resort and the arbiter of every imaginable thing and we suffer the consequences.

TomTom said...

PeterCharles I agree with you, but frankly they are not going to do the necessary. I still maintain The Civil Contingencies Act should have been invoked in 2008 and people shown the situation.

The simple truth is that policy is run FOR the Banks and BY the Banks and 4 years later it is ridiculous that they are creating a NEW way of life and this is it.

They are going to hand over Student Loans, Health, Education to the Banks who will then Own young people from Womb to Tomb having their full financial data on file.

They are using this opportunity to run down facilities in favour of the offshore interests The City is renowned for - it is not onshore Banking, but Offshore Banking - the extraction of lucre from the peasants is vital to maintaining their position as a haven for funk money.

The Conservatives are finished - maybe I speak as a Northerner, but I cannot see their attraction outside Chelsea and Berkshire

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of tax payers pay the largest fraction of total tax via the PAYE system. This system allows the government to lift the tax out of the salary of the worker even before it reaches the worker.

The system is iniquitous for several reasons

1. The worker should first have the money that is due to him from the employer. PAYE makes the government the employer, which it isnt.

2. PAYE is an enforced and extorted tax; the worker does not have the opportunity to "voluntarily" pay the tax legally due.

3. It prevents the working population from realising how much they are paying the government in taxes, and if the services they provide in return is value for money.

4. PAYE splits the total tax into installments, thus hiding the huge tax that is being lifted out of our pay packets even before it reaches our pocket.

For the government PAYE is excellent, as above all, it prevents the population from getting uppity and demand value for money, or start withholding tax.

It also allows the government to get away with the lie that they are giving us money.

It may come as no surprise, that in Switzerland, the cantonal government has to wait to the end of the year for the Swiss to pay their tax dues, including income tax. The government therefore, is kept waiting. This enforces good financial discipline. It also reinforces the reality that they are mendicants rather then divine rulers, as in the UK.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how to set about correcting the bad habits the ruled, and the rulers, have got into.

The fault lies on both sides. We accept the PAYE as we don't have to fill forms, i.e., we have become lazy. Political rulers likes it for obvious reasons. But the main reason is pure laziness on our behalf. Its a bad habit we have fallen into.

As the populace does not realise how much they are paying the government, they don't demand value for money. Only when we all do, will the demands for DD come about- and not because the government grants it to us out of magnanimity, but because the present system and the present rulers, will be swept aside by the people.

I therefore contend that PAYE is the prime cause of the malaise that inflicts the entire political and social system.

So here is the question.

Should we be advocating Direct Democracy as a first step, with promises of onerous responsibility and other such benefits, from which results the abolition of PAYE, or the other way round.

TomTom said...

Don't forget PAYE came in 1944 - another result of the Totalitarian War that made Britain a totalitarian regime with no election between 1935 and 1945.....and which would have had ONE COALITION contesting that election if Churchill had gotten his way

cosmic said...

Tom Tom,

"The Conservatives are finished - maybe I speak as a Northerner, but I cannot see their attraction outside Chelsea and Berkshire"

While people vote tribally, they are not finished. There's no great sign of that changing.

The other factor which works for them is 'keeping Labour out". "Keeping the Tories out" also works for Labour as does tribal voting.

The fact that there's no appreciable difference between them does appear to be eroding support, but I suspect this is expressed mainly in people turning off rather than actively seeking an alternative.

Anonymous said...

Marvellous stuff from the great man, how I wish I could have watched and heard him make a speech - they say when Enoch was going to address the house, the back benchers and cabinet members would pack the HoC - who could blame them, pity of it is, they didn't listen with a greater attentiveness to his words of wisdom, 'pearls before swine' as it were.

BTW, I used an excerpt from this [Mr. Powell's] speech on Lord Tebbit's blog in the Torygraph - but I did make sure to acknowledge this fine comment too - hope you don't mind WfW;^)


Anonymous said...

And not to forget the electoral boundaries changes coming soon.
Minus 50 mp's. Of course, nobody would suggest that the boundaries commission is politically slanted...but the wise money is on:
Rearrangement to remove some 21 safe labour seats, and total removal of two lib/dem seats. Moving the boundaries to create some 10 new "safe" conservative areas.
We'll see.

TomTom said...

Oh and to remove Philip Davies from Shipley by partitioning his constituency out of existence